WASHINGTON - Going into this week, the Saint Joseph's Hawks had won true road games this season in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Rhode Island.
The road warriors added another geographical note on their résumé Wednesday night, building an 11-point, first-half lead and cruising to an 84-66 win in the nation's capital against George Washington in an Atlantic 10 Conference contest between NCAA hopefuls.
The score wasn't even that close, as the Hawks (20-4, 9-2 A-10) led by 23 points with 3:21 left on a night they shot 64 percent in the second half, 57 percent overall, and made only five turnovers.
The Hawks are 9-0 on the road this season - the only Division I team that is perfect in true road games. GW entered the game 12-1 at home, including a win over Virginia, and was coming off a victory Saturday at VCU.
"We try to treat every road game the same," said Hawks forward DeAndre' Bembry, who had 14 points, three assists and five rebounds. "It is hard to beat them here; it is a tough crowd. We came here prepared. We stuck to our plan and it worked for us."
The plan for GW (18-6, 7-4) certainly wasn't to allow St. Joe's to make uncontested layups, but that happened several times, as the Colonials appeared to mess up defensive assignments.
Baltimore native Isaiah Miles, playing in front of his parents, had a game-high 21 points and nine rebounds for St. Joe's; Shavar Newkirk had 10 points and four assists; and reserve James Demery had 10 points.
"They gave me and other guys the opportunity to shoot threes," said Miles, who was 3-for-6 from long range, while the Hawks were 9-for-21 as a team.
Miles called it the Hawks' best road win of the season.
"I think so. GW is a really, really good team," he said. "They have beaten a lot of good teams."
The Colonials, who began the night tied for fourth in the conference, had all five starters in double figures: Tyler Cavanaugh (17 points), Patricio Garino (12), Joe McDonald (10), Kevin Larsen (10) and Yuta Watanabe (10). But the Hawks' bench outscored the GW subs, 25-7, in a fast-paced game that saw only 15 free throws.
Miles hit a pair of three-pointers midway through the second half to give the Hawks a lead of 63-46 after GW had trimmed the margin to three. The Hawks cruised to the win with a combination of easy layups in both halves and solid shooting from three-point range.
"What it is about the road, I don't know," said Hawks coach Phil Martelli, who also called it the best road win of the season. "They are just competitors. I just have a feeling about this team. They get it; no moment has been too big all year long."
Martelli cautioned that the win doesn't guarantee an NCAA berth.
"I am hanging my hat that we are undefeated on the road. That is an unbelievable achievement in today's college basketball," he said.
The Hawks led, 39-32, at halftime, then scored the first six points of the second half to take a lead of 45-32 on a basket by Miles. GW trimmed the margin to 46-43 before the Hawks went on a 17-3 run, capped by a three-pointer by Miles with 9:51 left, to go ahead, 63-46.
St. Joe's took its first 10-point lead of the game at 26-16 with 8:58 left in the first half on a dunk by Demery. The Hawks led, 39-29, with 2:15 to go in the first half on a three-pointer by Newkirk, but GW trimmed the margin to 39-32 at halftime.
"We were aware of their home record," Martelli said. "There is just a comfort level with this team. That is a special performance to shoot like that on the road."